With many overseas students and visitors supplementing the rich multicultural fabric of Adelaide, it’s time to expand the familiar sub-text of Adelaide as The City of Churches to include all faiths - for Adelaide to be known as Adelaide - A Faith Friendly City.
I’m sure that would be heartily endorsed by the founders of Adelaide for whom freedom of religion and religious diversity was a primary value - why we came to have so many churches! Faith friendliness was there at the beginning. Even our own beloved Mary McKillop had a Jewish and an Anglican benefactor!
Our religious history is rich. The mosque in Gilbert Street is testament to that. We've even named the Adelaide to Darwin railway in honour of the Afghani cameleers, who were indispensible to the opening up of the inland.
Now is the time to invest in faith friendliness. It's too late when animosity has become entrenched and walls of regulation must keep the peace.
What would it take for the Adelaide City Council to nurture faith friendliness in the City of Adelaide?
It would need to adopt and build on the four principles:
enunciated in the Faith Friendly Charter.(www.faithfriendlyaustralia.org)
It might employ a project officer to work with the Council to explore what FaithFriendly Adelaide might mean.
It might create a website portal.
Here is one idea from Boston, nurtured by the Harvard University’s Pluralism Project in the same way that Oasis at Flinders University is nurturing the idea of faith friendliness in Australia. It suggests to me a way for the Adelaide City Council to serve the faith needs of Adelaide as one way of making tangible the idea of a Faith Friendly City.
Originally developed as a print guide, World Religions in Greater Boston is now an interactive website designed to educate and engage religious and civic leaders, students and academics, journalists, medical professionals, new Bostonians, and tourists. The fifth edition features a new online user interface with updated audio-visual content, interactive maps, a near-comprehensive directory of religious centers and organizations, a searchable news database, links to introductory materials, and resources by tradition. Additional content will be added throughout the next academic year, and updates will be ongoing.
A collaborative effort, WRGB is made possible by the generosity of the religious communities of Greater Boston. Our sincere thanks to the countless individuals who have been our gracious hosts, learned teachers, and informed contributors. We also wish to recognize the leaders and members of interfaith organizations in Greater Boston who have provided us with both assistance and inspiration: you offer powerful examples of the value of education and engagement across the lines of difference. You have taught us much about pluralism.
We hope that regardless of where you live, you will find this interactive guidebook interesting and engaging. As the most comprehensive resource of its kind, WRGB might be considered a prototype for similar undertakings in other US cities. We look forward to thinking about this with you.
I will make some enquiries.